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How to Prep for the PANCE



How to Prep for the PANCE

Wondering how to prep for the PANCE? You’re in the right place.

Successfully completing PA school is an amazing achievement and should be celebrated! But before new graduates can officially start practicing, they have to pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) to officially get that “C” meaning certified. Before I discuss some strategies for studying for the PANCE, let’s start with some basics about the exam itself.

The Basics of PANCE

The PANCE covers 2 main categories: Knowledge of diseases and disorders, and knowledge and skills related to tasks PAs perform.

The exam itself is 5 hours long with 300 multiple-choice questions administered in five, 60-minute blocks. To register, you have to have graduated from an accredited PA program and the NCCPA must certify you as eligible. The cost is $550 and you cannot register more than 90 days from your graduation date. 

The blueprint of the PANCE is laid out in terms of medical content and task content. The medical content is made up of fourteen disease systems with a third of the content being Cardiovascular (13%), Pulmonary (10%), and GI/Nutrition (9%). By utilizing the blueprint you can focus your study time on areas of the exam that carry the most content. This is also where the Picmonic PANCE blueprint is so useful. With hundreds of picmonics specific to each section of the blueprint, it is customized to improve your retention and be ready for test day.

How to Prep for the PANCE Study Strategy

Your study strategy is what will set you up for success. So, I recommend first establishing a timeline that works best for you. Pick a date you would like to take the exam and stick to it! Constant rescheduling will create a disorganized study plan and cause more anxiety. Decide how long you would like to study for the exam. For some, that may be 8 weeks, for others it may be 16 depending on your learning style. I recommend taking it shortly after graduation as you are more primed than ever with the information fresh in your mind. And if you have been using Picmonic during PA school, you are even more likely to remember this information.

Remember the Practice Questions

It is important to do as many practice questions as you can so you become familiar with the question structure and the content. Think about what modules you struggled with during PA school, what topics were the most challenging, and which section of the Picmonic blueprint you may need to spend more time on. Use time blocking as a strategy. Setting a timer for 30-45 minutes to do your most intense studying, followed by a 5-minute break. Utilize both active and passive learning strategies by listening and viewing content, while also reviewing practice questions. 

Don’t Stress – 90% Pass Rate

Sound stressful? It can be, but remember, there is no penalty for guessing so be sure to answer every question, and the number of students who pass their first time is consistently over 90%! With a solid timeline and study tools like Picmonic, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for success. 

Learn more about Picmonic or book a session with one of The Posh PA coaches to map out your study plan!

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